R&B star Frank Ocean releases powerful message in wake of Orlando attack
R&B singer Frank Ocean became legendary after the release of his first and only full length record, 2011′s Channel ORANGE. The early-Odd Future member gained even more cred after Grammy wins and ghost writing for folks like John Legend, Justin Bieber and Brandy.
Rumors about his sexuality began and before long the singer took to tumblr to explain his first love, at the age of 19, was another man. While confirmation of where he lies on the spectrum has been a bit of a back-and-fourth ever since, he’s undoubtedly embraced and supported the LGBTQ community when he could.
And now, just over a week after the attack at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse that left 50 dead (including the shooter), Ocean has taken to tumblr to release another powerful statement of support.
In the letter Ocean details his own storied past with his family, or father in specific, cursing members of the LGBTQ community as the young Ocean looked on.
“I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty,” he wrote. “That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t.”
Ocean also questions what Pride means in a time when LGBTQ people are being persecuted here and abroad, or when parts of the community are forced into the wrong bathrooms.
“Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year,” he wrote. “So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest?”
Take a look at the letter below:
I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in. I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here. Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?
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